** CLEAN CARFAX ** The 350-horsepower 5.7-liter LS1 V8 powers the coupe and convertible. An automatic transmission is standard; a six-speed manual ($915) is optionaltandard equipment includes dual-zone climate controls, fog lamps, sport seats, four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS, a driver information center, remote keyless entry, stainless steel exhaust with chromed quad outlets, retractable headlights, Bose speakers, 6-way power seats with leather upholstery, extended-mobility (run flat) Z-rated tires, traction control with Active Handling, and cast alloy wheels. The coupe comes with a parcel net and luggage shade. Child Restraint Attachment System (CRAS) hooks are provided in the passenger and the passenger-side air bag can be manually shut off while carrying children. The Z06 hardtop adds a head-up instrument display, titanium exhaust, a tire inflator kit for its Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, and forged alloy wheels. The six-speed manual is the only transmission offered.The Corvette’s flowing front fenders are handsome when viewed either from outside or behind the wheel, while the bulging rear end is reminiscent of the IMSA GTP Corvettes of the late ’80s. The Corvette sits low to the ground and has a fair amount of front overhang; pull forward in a parking space until your tires touch the curb and you’ll damage stuff. The convertible version looks graceful when the top is down. Putting the top down exposes body-colored trim behind the seats that reminds us of an open-cockpit racer. It looks really cool.C5 Corvettes come with comfortable cabins, something that wasn’t always true of previous-generation models. Low doorsills and narrow side rails make getting in and out easier than before. The seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room for driver and passenger, though there isn’t a lot of space for stuff. Front seat space in the three models is pretty much the same. The power seats have a memory function and the handsome analog gauges are easier to use and more satisfying than the old digital displays. The manually operated convertible top stows neatly under a body-colored cover that folds flat at the forward edge of the trunk lid. The soft top is very nice. It’s made of high-quality material and the rear window is glass. You’ll need a demonstration or a trip to the owner’s manual to figure out how to lower the top the first time, then it’s quick and easy. We’ve seen no evidence of leaking in hard downpours nor at the car wash test, though we did notice some wind noise at the top of the driver’s window at super-legal speeds. Riding in the convertible with the top down is very pleasant and lots of fun with much aural feedback. There’s very little buffeting at speed.The C5 is beautifully balanced, surprisingly comfortable, and is built to a far higher standard than any Corvette in history. The C5 handles great on a road course, but still reminds us of a muscle car when cruising along or accelerating down a straight stretch. The Corvette is a beast. The standard Corvette engine, the LS1 V8, is potent. Stand on the throttle and it’s fast traffic. It produces 350 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque with the six-speed manual transmission, and 360 pound-feet with the automatic. The Corvette is quick out of the gate, whether equipped with the automatic or manual. While we prefer the six-speed, we have to admit that the automatic rams its shifts home with authority, and there’s enough muscle in the LS1 V8 to cover the performance penalties associated with auto-shifters. Miss one shift with the manual and the automatic in the lane next door will clean your clock. The automatic does not have a manual-shift mode, but it doesn’t need one. Unlike most ragtops, the Corvette convertible weighs about the same as the coupe, so its acceleration is undiluted: 0-to-60 mph in less than 5 seconds with the six-speed manual transmission, about 0.4 seconds slower with the automatic. The only performance penalty that goes with the convertible vers
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119 Old Brickyard Road
North Wilkesboro, NC 28659